You may roll your eyes that I have chosen to make lamingtons for Australia Day but I’m feeling quite nostalgic this year.
Lamingtons actually originate from Queensland. The place that has reawakened the Australian in me. When most of the state was beset by a raging flood over Christmas it was clear that Australians are strong. It was a flood with such a magnitude like we have never seen here before, as it continued through Queensland into New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The sheer numbers of people who came to the aide of complete strangers to clean up, provide shelter and food, in the aftermath was very moving. Tens of thousands of Australian helping fellow Australians in dire need. Now that makes you feel proud.
Their name comes from Lord Lamington who was the Governor of Queensland in the late 1890s. The creation of these tasty little cakes came from his cook who came up with them by some accident in the kitchen one day.
I have vague memories of helping make lamingtons as a young girl, for a fundraising event. It was messy, or maybe it was just that I was young and tended to make a mess when left with chocolate and coconut.
Since then I have never attempted to make them. I have visions of that day, fingers caked in chocolate and coconut, looking like little lamingtons themselves.
Now I’m a grown up I should be much tidier, shouldn’t I?
I turned to Bills Granger, the Australian man of neat and tidiness (even though he says he is a messy cook, I don’t believe it). I know Bill tries to simplify recipes, so I adapted his lamington recipe from Every Day to use for mine.
150g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
30g unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons hot water
500g icing sugar
200g dark chocolate, broken up
15g unsalted butter
400g desiccated coconut
For the cake, beat the eggs for 5 mins with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until sugar looks dissolved. Stop the electric beaters. Sift in the flour and fold into mix. Then add butter and hot water and fold into mix. Pour into baking tin and bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the chocolate sauce, place the sugar, chocolate, butter and milk into a heat proof dish over a saucepan of just simmering water. Stir the mixture until it is all combined. Keep in mind that you need to dip the sponge into this mix it needs to thin enough to coat easily but thick enough to cling to the sponge. You only need a thin layer of the chocolate mix over the sponge. So if the mix is too thick keep it over the heat and add more milk. Too thin and add more icing sugar.
The sponge didn’t rise as much as I wanted (maybe my tin was too big) so I cut the sponge into 20 fingers instead of the traditional squares. Dip the sponge into the chocolate mixture to coat, it helps to use 2 forks to roll the sponge. Hold the sponge up with the forks to let the excess coating drip off and roll in coconut. Carefully place on a wire rack for the chocolate mix to set.